Why Waterton Park Golf Club has a reputation for environmental friendliness

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 30, 2017 17:29 Updated

Unknown by many, the world’s first nature reserve was created in 1820 by the pioneering Victorian naturalist Charles Waterton around his estate in Walton Hall, West Yorkshire. This is now where Waterton Park Golf Club, designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1995, is situated. Charles Waterton dedicated his life to preserving the local wildlife in the area and the present golf club, having purchased it from administrators in 2004, has strived to maintain Waterton’s vision. Eddie Eyre (greens director), Dave Hobbs (course consultant) and Martin Heywood (operations director) are all passionate about golf and wanted to see the course succeed and realise its full potential. All are heavily involved in the running of the club and are very much hands-on. Head greenkeeper, responsible for the course, is David Griffin, along with his team of five.

The club has sought specialist advice from a number of quarters on how best to protect and encourage certain flora and fauna species. Examples of their care for wildlife and the environment are to be seen in many areas across this 18 hole, par 72, 6,781 yard course. For example, after consulting the Forestry Commission, many trees were carefully planted, ‘Bug hotels’ created and barn owl boxes erected with help and advice from ornithologist and conservationist Bill Oddie, a keen birdwatcher since childhood. Sir David Attenborough paid a visit to Waterton Park in 2013 when he opened the £31m Wakefield City Museum. There is a section in the museum dedicated to Squire Waterton and his collection. Sir David commented: “Charles Waterton was little known not only internationally but, shamefully, in this country too. But he was a great and important figure.”

Sustainability is the watchword at Waterton and one immediately clear example is the wind turbine, located near the greenkeeping facility that provides power to recharge buggies and the lighting on the driving range. Although irrigation is by bore-hole supplied water, further water savings were sought and one area of concern was the greenkeeping wash-off facility where large quantities of water were being wasted. The solution was to recycle wash-water and washpad recycling systems were investigated. To improve its environmental credentials, staying on the right side of the law was also a driving factor. The club wanted to prevent pollution and be compliant. Having looked at what was available; it chose a ClearWater system from Acumen Highspeed.

Asked why a ClearWater system had been chosen, Eddie Eyre, Dave Hobbs and David Griffin all submitted their reasons: “It’s below ground and away from vandals”, “it was available to self-install”, “below ground means low temperature and less chance of Legionella”. Pressed why self-install was a main reason for their purchase, their answer was unanimous: “Cost savings!”

As the selection of accompanying photographs, most taken throughout the installation by David Griffin show, installation was not a difficult task. As David said: “The installation instructions provided by ClearWater were very good with plenty of photos to help us. We did have a couple of questions and calls to the Highspeed office were made. We were put in touch straight away with friendly, knowledgeable people who had the answers!”

The self-install option suited Waterton Park and allowed it to carry out the work at varying times to suit it and balance this with the demands of maintaining the course. What does come over is their pride in the work they have carried out and certainly this is justified as they have made a first class job of the installation. They will ensure the system is well looked after!

With all the work completed, the area tidied and commissioning carried out by a ClearWater engineer, the next question was: “Does ClearWater live up to your expectations?”. The three were all pleased and comments noted were: “Happy to be fully compliant”, “it is easy to use and maintain”, “there is plenty of pressure from the water guns”, “it looks great!” “We have resolved all the problems associated with machinery washing … and we’ve got rid of the smell we had before!”, “can’t fault it.”

Yes, the team would be happy to recommend and demonstrate the system as it ticks all the boxes. What was a decrepit non-compliant washpad, wasting thousands of litres of precious water is now a superb fully compliant, effective and efficient system.

Certainly with Waterton Park’s enthusiasm for this project, others considering a washpad water recycling system and installing themselves (or with the help of a contractor), may wish to take a look at ClearWater.

Waterton Park Golf Club made a conscious decision to be legally compliant, taking its environmental responsibilities seriously and wanted to continue building on its conservation programme. The new ClearWater washpad water recycling system certainly meets their criteria and it looks good. On the face of what has been seen at Waterton, self-install does seem to be a very cost effective option!


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 30, 2017 17:29 Updated
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